W. MI community members concerned about high rent prices

Grand Rapids

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — There is a growing concern in West Michigan that rents for homes and apartments are becoming too expensive.

Experts say it’s a supply and demand issue. With more people wanting to live in the greater Grand Rapids area, rent prices are going to go up. Others say this doesn’t make it any easier and “enough is enough.”

“I ended up homeless. I’ve been homeless since Aug. 1,” said Juliea Paige, born and raised in West Michigan.

Paige says she left the state for a while because she couldn’t afford it and when she came back nothing had changed.

“It’s awful. I feel like I’m breaking promises to my children. This is my home and I can’t even be here. It’s really hard,” said Paige.

Paige says she has been actively looking for a home for the past two months.

“You’re looking at like $1,500 to $2,000 or more and no utilities are included at all. They’re not worth what they’re asking for,” said Paige.

News 8’s Dana Whyte took this issue to Twitter and asked people if their rent has gone up over the past few years. Seventy-eight percent of the people who responded said their rent went up, 55% of them by more than $100.

“The more demand there is for that item, the higher the price will be because there is more competition for it,” said Scott Nurski, senior multifamily investment specialist for NAI Wisinski.

Nurski says the more desirable a city is the more expensive it will be.

“It’s just a great place to be and so in any market that has those factors going for them, you’re going to see increased demand,” said Nurski.

Justin Moorehead, who rents out properties in Grand Rapids, said the same thing.

“In two weeks on Zillow and Facebook, I had 133 inquires and a good portion of those were pretty solid applicants,” said Moorehead.

However, Paige believes something more needs to be done before more and more people are forced to live on the streets.

“How many jobs do you really need to have? How much money do you really need to make just to have heat and a house and a shower and food, you know? This isn’t about lazy people, this is about a broken system,” said Paige.

Nurski says that the current occupancy rate across West Michigan is 95.8%, which is considered very high. This means most of the housing available here is already taken up.

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